How to Prevent Healthcare Violence
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How to Prevent Healthcare Violence

Anger Inoculation for Healthcare Professionals
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Instead of using a simple lifetime average, Udemy calculates a course's star rating by considering a number of different factors such as the number of ratings, the age of ratings, and the likelihood of fraudulent ratings.
2 students enrolled
Created by Cole Morris
Last updated 9/2016
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Current price: $10 Original price: $45 Discount: 78% off
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  • 2.5 hours on-demand video
  • 5 Supplemental Resources
  • Full lifetime access
  • Access on mobile and TV
  • Certificate of Completion
What Will I Learn?
  • At the end of this course, students will recognize potentially dangerous situations before they occur.
  • Students will understand the unique risk factors that contribute to anxiety and aggression in the healthcare work environment.
  • Students will be able to assess non-verbal indicators of potential violence and recognize pre-assault indicators
  • At the end of this course students will be able to deploy various tactical verbal skills and additional deescalation strategies
View Curriculum
  • There are no special requirements for enrolling in the course. Students must have speakers, video and internet connection.

Healthcare workers experience extreme levels of violence. In fact, non-lethal assaults on nurses, technicians and physicians lead virtually every other career, including law enforcement and other widely presumed "dangerous" occupations.

Not unique to the U.S. the United Kingdom or Canada, it is truly a global problem.

Violence Inoculation: A Survival Guide for Healthcare Professionals provides awareness of the problem, its causes, and how healthcare staff can maintain a safe environment for themselves and their patients. 

  1. The course is video based and takes approximately 2.5 hours to complete
  2. Each video lecture duration is approximately 2-15 minutes in duration. 
  3. In addition to the lectures, resources include an occasional .PDF reading assignment or a visit to an external internet link.
  4. Most lectures conclude with a short quiz. 
  5. The course includes a 20-question final assessment.  

Why Take This Course?


  • Students seldom receive orientation regarding violence in their newly-chosen profession. This unique overview inoculates those entering, or considering entering, the field. 
  • The program provides a dose of reality before committing to an expensive training program or considering a position in healthcare or social service. 
  • Violence Inoculation  minimizes the "gob smacked" factor that many new healthcare workers feel when they first step into their new role.
  •  This awareness minimizes new hire  trauma (and related turn-over) and potentially patient dissatisfaction rates.
  • The parent course will be periodically supplemented with Healthcare Commando topics. These will be short, timely articles on workplace safety and violence prevention as it applies specifically to the healthcare environment.

Healthcare/Organization Leadership:

The course provides a sense of structure to senior nursing staff, administrators, and healthcare executives who understand the violence situation, but are seeking a channel to communicate it to assigned staff.

As a healthcare leader, the course will reinforce your organization's competitiveness in the new world of HCAHPS and pay-for-performance.

Violence Inoculation: A Survival Manual for Healthcare Professionals:

  • Is an excellent road map for mentoring and leading junior staff in difficult times.
  • Delivers a sense of confidence to both clinical and ancillary staff when facing aggressive, and potentially violent behavior.
  • Directly contributes to the Environment of Care. (and patient safety)
  • Responds to staff concerns regarding their personal safety and management's response to those issues.

Who is the target audience?
  • This course is for anyone working in healthcare. It is especially relevant for those employed in direct patient care.
  • This includes nursing students, experienced nursing professionals, nurse leadership, allied health specialists, ancillary services, support personnel such a registrars, unit secretaries and healthcare security officers.
  • The course content is applicable for those working in both inpatient and outpatient environments.
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Curriculum For This Course
25 Lectures
Welcome to the Course!
1 Lecture 04:34

Cole Morris, your instructor, introduces himself and explains a little bit about the background and structure of the course.

Preview 04:34
Introduction: Welcome to the Course!
3 Lectures 18:32

In this lecture, the instructor defines workplace violence as being on a spectrum. It can range from verbal abuse, threats and physically pushing someone, to aggravated assault or homicide. The concept of "targeted violence" is discussed in the context of healthcare. The instructor suggests three commonly encountered motivations for targeted violence episodes.

Preview 06:51

This quiz provides five questions to assess your understanding of the material presented in the lecture, "Spectrum of Violence."

Spectrum of Violence
5 questions

Instructor Cole Morris, provides an overview of healthcare violence. Keeping it simple, and taking a global view, he describes the problem as pervasive. This perspective is supported by numerous governmental, industry and professional organizations.

Preview 04:55

Here's another quick quiz to make sure you are "locking and loading" the information. Be sure to take these things seriously. The quizzes will constitute a major part of the final exam.

Healthcare Violence and Stats
4 questions

This section identifies additional organizations working to address violence in healthcare. The global nature of the phenomena are briefly summarized. Upon conclusion of this lecture, the learner will appreciate how colleagues across the globe are often struggling with the scourge of healthcare violence.  

Healthcare Violence: A Global Issue

A quick quiz on the global nature of violence against healthcare professionals

A Global Issue
3 questions
Anxiety, Aggression and Acting Out
5 Lectures 23:46

The lesson defines anxiety and its relationship to violence. The role of pain, mental illness, intoxication and an uncertain environment are all potential contributors to an anxious environment. At the conclusion of this lesson the learner will:

  • Be able to articulate what anxiety is and why it is so prevalent in healthcare.
  • Comprehend the importance of recognizing and managing anxiety in the workplace.
  • Identify the relationship between poorly managed anxiety and physical and verbal aggression. 
Anxiety Awareness

This quiz covers the most important points from the Anxiety Awareness lecture. 

Anxiety Awareness
6 questions

Continuing our discussion of anxiety's role in the development of aggression, this lecture describes several behavioral traits that indicate escalation. Additionally, at the conclusion of this lesson, the learner will:

  • Understand the importance of anticipating anxiety provoking behaviors
  • Take action to remove unneeded stimuli
  • Help the patient identify his or her anxiety
  • Use and watch for non-verbal communication
  • Understand anxiety results in higher patient awareness and focus. They notice "little things."
  • Appreciate the criticality of managing patient expectations as a way of minimizing anxiety.
Anxiety: Recognition and Response

On this quiz we check your understanding of anxiety and how if left unaddressed, it may escalate to violence.

Recognizing and Responding to Anxiety
5 questions

In this lecture, Cole moves us from anxiety to aggression. The two major types of violence are described (Instrumental and Impulsive.) Particular emphasis is placed on impulsive violence because it is the most common violence found in healthcare. The instructor asserts virtually anyone can become violent in a healthcare environment.

Further, the instructor suggests it is NOT the violent episode that causes fear and a sense of danger. It is how we manage and respond to the event that produces these emotions.

At the conclusion of this lecture, the learner will:

  • Define and differentiate between instrumental and impulsive violence
  • Articulate the many purposes of violence and put them in the context of the healthcare environment
  • Explain how aggression causes both physical and emotional harm
Anyone Can be Violent_yes_Even You

Can you differentiate between the different types of violence? What purposes does violence serve? This quiz will check your awareness of these issues.

Anyone Can_be_Violent
3 questions

This lecture introduces basic procedures for assessing potentially violent situations. A previous history of violence is the most reliable indicator of future aggression. However, most healthcare professionals seldom have access to this history. At times, aggressive patients will admit to attacking healthcare staff in the past. This is usually done to intimidate or support a current threat against staff. All such threats should be taken seriously.

Posture, language, body language and speech are introduced as potential indicators of violence.

Upon completion of this lesson, the learner will be able to:

  • Identify "red flags" as they apply to potential violence
  • Understand the role of "motor activity" as a precursor to potential violence
  • Describe motor activities such as the "1,000 yard stare," the boxer's stance, targeting glance and moving in and out of your personal space, among others...

Basic Assessment for Violence

This quiz sees what you know about pre-attack indicators. 

Basic Assessment
3 questions

This short lecture addresses just some of the clinical conditions that might contribute to a patient's aggressive behavior. This include drug and alcohol dependence and the related withdrawal process from these substances. Various psychiatric conditions are also briefly mentioned. The relationship between anxiety and healthcare aggression is also reiterated here.

At the conclusion of this lecture, the learner will:

  • Have a rudimentary understanding of some of the clinical conditions that can drive patient violence
  • Appreciate the role pain can play in aggressive, potentially dangerous behaviors  
  • Explain how anxious and aggressive behaviors are not isolated to the emergency department. All areas of the facility are prone to these conditions

Clinical Considerations

This quiz is just two questions covering clinical conditions that may contribute to violence.

Clinical Considerations
2 questions
The Environment
2 Lectures 08:04

This lecture focuses on some of the unique characteristics of our environment that drive anxiety. These range from pain, grief, fear and uncertainty to a lack of privacy and long wait times.

At the end of this lesson, the learner will:

  • Understand the concept of expectation management and the role it can play in minimizing anxiety and prevention aggression and violence.
Environmental Basics and You

Hospitals are very special environments. This quiz assess your awareness of environmental characteristics and the role unmet expectations play in healthcare aggression.

Anxious Environment
1 question

Guest instructor, Amy, provides insight into the daily activities we engage in, but seldom consider how they might result in resentment, anxiety, and potential violence. She addresses the hard truth of being a Professional Personal Space Invader. 

At the conclusion of this lecture, the learner will have a new appreciation for how routine daily activities effect the anxiety levels of patients. Nurses, aides, allied health techs and physicians need to understand the impact "routine procedures" have on the average patient.

Preview 02:39

What are some of the unavoidable daily routines we perform that drive up patient anxiety? Here are some questions.

Daily Stressors
1 question
Getting a Clue: Situational Awarness
3 Lectures 24:38

Now we provide a working definition for situational awareness (SA). Instructor Cole Morris, describes two commercial airline accidents that contrast sharply. In one, situational awareness of the aircrew was tragically absent. In the other, situational awareness saved the lives of over 150 passengers and crew.

Most healthcare professionals are already performing situational awareness to some extent while they care for patients. It is a critical part of modern healthcare. However, in this course we consider SA in the context of personal safety and violence prevention.

An external YouTube link provides an example of situational awareness as mastered by super secret agent Jason Bourne. 

At the conclusion of this lesson the learner will be able to:

  • Provide a working definition of situational awareness as it applies to this course
  • Explain what influences might shape our situational awareness
  • Understand they are probably already performing SA while performing their clinical duties
Welcome to Situational Awareness

This "lecture" is actually a series of three scenarios. They are designed to gauge your observational skills and assess a specific situation. Each scenario is timed. This is to introduce a small element of stress. However, play each video as many times as necessary to acquire the required insight.

Ask yourself:

  • Where am I?
  • What's going on here?
  • Who is here? Why are they here?
  • Are there any indications of anxiety, or environmental sources of anxiety?

You should take notes to record your observations and jot down questions as they occur. 

In the next lecture, the instructor will critique each of these scenarios.

Three SA Assessments

Cole shares his observations on the three SA scenarios provided in the previous lecture. It is important to understand your observations may vary from other students or the instructor. Individual perceptions vary and these are no concrete "right or wrong" answers. 

The most important point is to be aware of your environment and who shares it with you. How can others in your space impact your safety? The instructor also stresses the importance and role environmental psychology plays in human behavior. Projecting a competent, professional image also minimizes potential anxiety.

At the end of this lecture, the learner will:

  • Achieve situational awareness by assessing the human terrain and noting environmental factors that may influence potential anxiety, disruptive behavior, unmet expectations and violence.
Situational Awareness Debrief

This quiz consists of just two questions. They test your understanding of the material presented in the situational awareness debrief lecture.

SA Debrief
2 questions
Tactical Communications
4 Lectures 23:59

Although a seemingly common-sense practice, the Universal Greeting helps facilitate a safe and professional environment. Its use projects professionalism and authority while helping to minimize uncertainty  and patient anxiety.

At the conclusion of this lecture, the learner will:

  • Understand the components of the Universal Greeting
  • Appreciate the role it has in supporting patient care
The Universal Greeting

Violence prevention begins with the "little things." Here are two questions to check your understanding of the Universal Greeting.

Universal Greeting
2 questions

This lecture introduces a five-step model for communicating with others. It is particularly effective when trying to gain compliance from someone who may be resistant (or even hostile) to your requests. 

Your Five Step Road Map

Cole builds on previous content. He provides a scenario where the five-step system can have very real results.

The Scenario: Car Improperly Parked

This lecture includes five "real world" scenarios from the instructor's experience as a healthcare security professional. Learners consider each case and how the five step model might be applied. Because different locations have varying policies, regulations, patient populations and cultures, there are no "right" and "wrong" answers. 

Instead, the goal of this lecture is ti initiate critical analysis and prompt thought regarding how the five step model can be implemented (and perhaps modified) in diverse situations.

Upon completion of this lecture, the learner will:

  • Apply the five step model to the scenarios provided
  • Consider how the five step model can be used at their institution at their location
Five Step Practice Scenarios
Active Listening
6 Lectures 37:22

The LEAPS (Listen, Empathize, Ask, Paraphrase, and Summarize) model is used to facilitate active listening and address complex issues in the workplace. This lecture defines and discusses how each element contributes to effective communication, assertiveness, and the management of potential violence. 

At the conclusion of this lecture, the learner will:

  • How to participate in active listening and the role it plays in our "tactical toolbox"
Introduction to LEAPS

LEAPS is a system that supports active listening. Here we check your knowledge of some basic LEAPS concepts.

11 questions

In this short video, Cole explains what to expect with the two upcoming scenarios. A .PDF checklist accompanies each. Learners may want to print them as use as a guide when viewing the following video clips.

  • At the conclusion of this lecture, the learner will understand how to view and assess the two upcoming situations using the LEAPS model.
Welcome to the LEAPS Scenarios

In this scene an angry patient "vents" when you enter her room. Taking notes, the learner will suggest how they would use LEAPS to address the situation. A .PDF de-briefing guide is available in the resources section of this lesson.

Scenario_1 Angry Patient

In this scene, you are the manager of a medical office. A disgruntled patient arrives at your work and wishes to complain about one of the physicians affiliated with the practice. Taking notes, the learner will suggest how they would use LEAPS to address the situation. A .PDF de-briefing guide is available in the resources section of this lesson.

Scenario 2_Mad at Doc

The instructor includes commentary on the two preceding LEAPS scenarios. This includes, but is not limited to:

  • The importance of asking the right questions
  • Evaluating non-verbal messaging
  • Differentiating between the paraphrase and the summary 

At the conclusion of this lecture, the learner will:

  • Be able to confidently employ the LEAPS model
  • Utilize active listening in emotionally charged situations
  • Quickly and effectively establish empathy with others 
Scenarios Debrief

Tactics for Healthcare Commandos will consist of periodic, short subjects that are pertinent to the safety of healthcare professionals and social service practitioners. They are supplemental resources that are added to the parent Violence Inoculation course. These updates will continue to add value to the curriculum and prompt the learner to revisit the course on a regular basis.

In this installment of Healthcare Commandos, the instructor discusses the safe use of space. Also, the concept of cornering is covered and why you want to avoid purposefully or inadvertently cornering and anxious individual. The three phases of violence, reasonable force, and extreme verbal abuse round out the topics for this lecture.

At the conclusion of this lecture, the learner will understand the purpose of Healthcare Commando content. She will also have a basic knowledge of:

  • Personal space and anxiety
  • The importance of maintaining an escape route
  • Cornering and its relationship to situational awareness (SA)
  • The three phases of violence management
  • Reasonable force defined
  • What is extreme verbal abuse?

Content from this lecture will be included in several questions appearing on the course final assessment.


Tactics for Healthcare Commandos

This is the final assessment for the course. It is comprehensive and covers all lectures and any other content included in the curriculum. It consists of 20-questions, many of them having previously appeared in the quizzes.

20 questions
Be a Healthcare Commando
1 Lecture 03:01

Instructor Cole Morris concludes the course with a few reminders on staying safe and managing potential violence in your workplace.

Course Conclusion
About the Instructor
Cole Morris
4.1 Average rating
65 Reviews
2,778 Students
5 Courses
Board Certified in Security Management

Over 30 years experience as a security professional. I have served in a diverse array of environments, including military, Fortune 500 high-technology, homeland security, and most recently, as the director of security for a major hospital network.

I have taught graduate-level security management as an adjunct faculty member of Webster University. I served 20 years in the United States Air Force in a number of capacities, including security, intelligence, and air operations. I have also served as a logistics advisor to two foreign governments (Canada and the Republic of Singapore)

Internationally published, my work has appeared in a wide-array of trade and professional periodicals, including Security Management, Police, and Airpower Journal.

Education includes a BA (summa cum laude) in Criminal Justice from Rowan University and a Masters of Public Administration (MPA) from Troy State University.

I am board certified in security management and hold the Certified Protection Professional (CPP) credential under the auspices of the American Society for Industrial Security (ASIS, International)

Additionally, I maintain the credential of Certified Healthcare Protection Administrator (CHPA) under the auspices of the International Foundation for Healthcare Security and Safety (IAHSS).

Finally, I am the author of Udemy's free course, How to Succeed in your Security Career, which is currently nearing 1,500 global students.